Reds complete sweep of punchless Mets
It's almost as if the Mets' three-game sweep of the Rays was a mirage. After pounding out nearly 10 runs a game last week at Tampa Bay, the Mets' bats went cold this weekend in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds.
The Mets have lost three in a row after winning three straight against the Rays (and losing three in a row to the Yankees before that).
The Mets scored 29 runs and picked up 40 hits at Tampa Bay. In this weekend's series, they totaled five runs and 17 hits. Their only run off Cueto scored on a bases-loaded walk to pitcher Chris Young in the second inning.
"We asked ourselves that same question this morning: 'What's the difference?' " said an under-the-weather Mets manager Terry Collins. "We had opportunities. One of the things we've done, we've gotten big hits with two outs. This series, we didn't. We didn't do anything with two outs."
Young (1-1) was the victim of limited support. In his third start since returning from shoulder surgery, he allowed three runs (two earned) in seven innings. He gave up nine hits, walked two and struck out two.
But Cueto (8-3) was better, even if it appeared as though he might not make it out of the third inning -- but not because of anything the Mets had done.
After Cueto threw his first pitch of the third to Omar Quintanilla, manager Dusty Baker and the Reds' trainer visited him on the mound. After a relatively lengthy delay and a few warmup tosses, Cueto was given a cup of water from the dugout. He finished the inning and four more without allowing another run.
The Reds later said Cueto was dizzy and lightheaded because all he had eaten for breakfast was a mango. And still he shut down the Mets.
"We're sputtering a little bit offensively," David Wright said. "We're doing an OK job getting guys on base. We just haven't gotten that one big hit that kind of gets us going."
The Reds scored three two-out runs against Young in the fifth to erase a 1-0 deficit. Zack Cozart doubled and scored the tying run on a single to center by former Met Wilson Valdez.
Valdez took second on the throw home, so the Mets intentionally walked reigning NL MVP Joey Votto. Brandon Phillips followed with a single to right. Valdez scored on the hit and Votto trotted home when Lucas Duda's throw to third flew past Wright and into the Reds' dugout for an error.
The Mets, who went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position in Saturday's 4-1 defeat, had fewer opportunities Sunday. Besides Young's run-scoring walk, they were 1-for-5 with a single.
Cueto allowed six hits, walked one and struck out eight.
The Mets had the makings of a two-out rally in the eighth against Jose Arredondo after Wright singled and Duda walked. Baker called on lefthander Sean Marshall against Ike Davis, and Collins countered with righthanded-hitting Scott Hairston, who was hitting .342 with seven home runs against lefties and has a pair of pinch-hit home runs this season.
Baker won the chess match, however, as Hairston grounded a breaking ball to third for a rally-snuffing forceout.
"This is what we were talking about earlier," Wright said. "Just a lot of inconsistencies. We get swept at Yankee Stadium. We go to Tampa and sweep a very, very good team. Obviously, the Reds are playing well. We've got to find some sort of middle ground where we can squeak out one when we're not playing necessarily great."
With Stephen Haynes